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Judiciary

Supreme Court to Establish Guidelines on Summoning Government Officers During Court Proceedings

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      22 August, 2023 01:25 AM      0 Comments
Supreme Court to Establish Guidelines on Summoning Government Officers During Court Proceedings

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it would lay down guidelines on summoning of government officers by the courts during adjudication of cases.

It has been seen summoning the senior government officers by the courts at the drop of a hat affects administrative works. At times, the courts make unwarranted comments upon the dress of the officers, putting the officers in embarassing situations.

Dealing with a matter arising out of the Allahabad High Court's order, a bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the officers should be asked to appear only in cases where there is non-compliance, not in pending matters where merely an affidavit will do the job.

"We will form modalities for appearing before court," the bench said

In the instant case, Allahabad HC ordered summoning of two senior government officers and ordered their custody.

Subsequently, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted a standard operating procedures for the courts on calling personal appearance of the government officers.

Referring to the draft standard operating procedure, the bench said there must be a different set of standards, which should be followed when courts seek personal presence of government officials in pending cases.

The bench said there must be bifurcation of matters pending and the ones in which adjudication is complete.

The bench said for the pending cases, summoning officers is not required but once adjudication is complete then contempt steps in.

The court also told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it had gone through the draft SOP and there are some points which actually say how judicial review should be exercised.

Mehta, on his part, clarified that there was no intention by the government to modify the power of judicial review.

He said that draft SOP only focused on summoning of senior government officials.

The court, however, made it clear that it would restrict its order only to the aspect of issue of summons to government officials and nothing else.

In detailed standard operating procedure for appearance of officials in contempt and other court proceedings, the central government has stated that the courts should call the officers only in exceptional circumstances with advance notice and refrain from making comments upon dress unless their appearance is unprofessional or unbecoming of the positions.

On Apri 20, the top court had directed immediate release of senior IAS officers Uttar Pradesh's Finance Secretary S M A Rizvi and Special Secretary, Finance Saryu Prasad Mishra, who were taken into custody on April 19 on Allahabad High Court's order in a matter related to providing domestic help and other facilities to retired Chief Justices and other judges.

The court had then suspended the High Court's division bench order seeking personal presence of Chief Secretary before the court on Thursday, April 20 to explain why contempt of court charges should not be framed against them.



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